Showsight - November 2017


by JEANIE MONTFORD originally published in The Royal Dispatch

T he Cavalier conformation is quite normal—one could almost say their structure and proportions are gener- ic—there are no extremes of propor- tions or conformation such as we find in the Dachshund or the Pekingese or the Bulldog for example, which will dictate specialized and distinctive gaits. How important is it to consider Cava- lier movement? Where do we put move- ment in our list of priorities among head and expression, temperament, coat and markings etc? Do all breeders consider good move- ment an essential goal of their breeding program or are they more concerned with pretty faces and lots of coat? Why do we want our dogs to move well both in and out of the show ring? Because if a dog is moving with all its bones and joints in proper

proportion in relation to one another, it will move more efficiently with less wear and tear on the joints, expending less energy to get from A to B. Hopefully the dog will live well into a comfortable old age without developing arthritis or other joint inflammations. Our Standards for the Cavalier are mercifully clear and to-the-point when describing movement: Country of origin, UK Standard: “Free moving and elegant in action, plenty of drive from behind. Fore and hind limbs move parallel when viewed from in front and behind.” USA Standard: “Free moving and elegant in action, with good reach in front and sound, driving rear action. When viewed from the side, the movement exhibits a good length of stride and viewed from front and rear it is straight and

true, resulting from straight-boned fronts and properly made and muscled hindquarters.” I do not believe there is any differ- ence in the essential meaning between these two standards. I interpret “move parallel” to be essentially the same as “straight and true”. Some of the factors that affect move- ment are, firstly, structure and confor- mation. In order to produce the ideal movement described in the Standard, the dog needs to be well-angulated in both fore and hind quarters. If the angu- lation is balanced front and rear, then ideally at the trot, the hind foot should step into the place of the forefoot as it is lifted. Ideally, in a well angulated front assembly, the point of the elbow will be directly beneath the highest point of the shoulder blade when the dog is

True and parallel movement behind.

Close movement behind.

True and parallel movement in front with leg forming straight column of support under the body.


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